The “your rights as a customer” document is a document the Texas PUC requires all retail electricity providers in Texas to make available to customers. It is sometimes abbreviated as YRAC.
Just because Texas is a deregulated market for electricity, it doesn’t mean there are no consumer protections mandated by the state’s Public Utility Commission. The YRAC document is meant to spell out these protections.
Because much of what is included in the your rights as a customer (YRAC) document is required, these documents are pretty much the same for each electric company.
Here is what you will find in the YRAC document that comes with your electricity plan.
Note: One this page we use the terms electric company and Retail electricity provider (REP) interchangeably. These are both common names to refer to the company that you get your electricity from.
As a Texas electricity consumer, you are protected against slamming. Slamming is the practice of having your service switched to a new provider without your authorization. If this occurs the electric company is required to work with other market participants to return your service to your original provider. The company that you were switched to is also required to pay any charges associated with your switch back to your original provider.
Cramming is the practice of adding additional unauthorized charges on to your utility bill. All of the charges associated with your service should be spelled out in the Electricity Facts Label (EFL) that comes with your electricity plan. Some additional charges and fees are sometimes found in the Terms of Service document. Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) are not allowed to add any additional charges beyond what you have authorized. If this does happen, they are required to work with you to have these charges removed. If you feel you have been a victim of cramming and you are not able to resolve the issue with your REP, you may file a complaint with the Texas PUC.
Disputes and complaint resolution
The YRAC document must spell out the complaint resolution procedures mandated by the PUC of Texas. You must first file a complaint with your REP. At this point, your complaint is in a pending status and your electric company can not begin collection activities or disconnect your service if the complain involves billing. Your REP will have 21 days to notify you of the results of your complaint.
If you don’t believe the complaint has been adequately addressed, you may then escalation the complain to the Texas PUC.
Deferred payment plans
The YRAC document will inform you that you have a right to seek a deferred payment plan if you are unable to pay your bill and you qualify for a deferred payment plan. If you receive a deferred payment plan, you will most likely be required to pay late fees. You may also have your account put in a switch hold status while you are catching up on your payments.
This document must tell you how to report unplanned outages.
Disconnection of service without notice
Under normal circumstances, your electric company must provide you with a written notice prior to disconnecting your electric service. Many companies will also charge you a fee for issuing this notice even if you are ultimately not disconnected. There are cases, however, where no prior notice is required.
These include the following:
- Where dangerous conditions exist and your power must be turned off for safety reasons.
- If there is evidence of theft of service.
- If equipment has been tampered with. This includes electric meters.
- When service was connected by an unauthorized person.
Right to have your meter tested
The document discusses the circumstances in which you may require your meter to be tested. You have the right to have your meter tested once every four years at no cost. Learn how to read your meter.
The YRAC document has information about requesting financial assistance with your bill if you qualify. Financial assistance may be available through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for those who qualify. Any programs offered by the REP to assist low income customers will be discussed also.
Electric service for customers with chronic conditions or critical care needs.
Some customers have medical needs that require constant availability of electricity. Those customers may inform their REP of those needs and be designated as a customer with critical care or chronic condition status. This does not guarantee that your electric service will not be interrupted but mean you must receive a 21 day notice before your service is disconnected for non-payment.
Do not call list
You have the right to be placed on a do not call list
This is just an overview of what is found in a typical YRAC document for Texas electric companies. You will want to review the specific document for your provider to understand your rights as a customer.